Franco: Silent Ally in World War II

Synopsis

During World War II, Beaulac, as a member of the United States diplomatic mission to Spain, participated in the delicate intrigue as Hitler tried to entice or coerce Spain into fighting for the Axis while the Allies sought to keep the Franco forces neutral.

Spain's policy was aimed at frustrating German designs, which made it, in effect, pro-Allied. Yet for survival Franco had to maintain an overt attitude of friendship with the Axis as well as a posture of enmity toward Russia. This friendship that Franco, his aides, and the controlled media professed for Hitler provided Spain's sole defense against German invasion.

Once Spanish policy became clear, the Allied policy was to be as helpful as possible. Spain was starving, weary of war, divided politically and spiritually. The United States and Britain chose not to punish Spain for her avowed friendship with the Axis but instead to make it as easy as possible for Franco to stay out of the war. Both countries continued to trade with Spain and supply her with commodities that would enable her to survive. That the Allies and the Spanish were able to carry out a policy that was often unpopular and difficult constitutes a great diplomatic victory- one that may have altered the course of World War II.